After 30 seasons, the venerable Greyhounds coach will lead his last game Saturday, in the Class D state championship at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

On a sweltering September Saturday in 2006, Lisbon High School coach Dick Mynahan and his charges emerged from the shady grove behind what was then a stone dust track, beyond the southeast corner of the end zone at Thompson Field in Lisbon. They lined up behind a large, half-ripped sign and, when signaled, broke through that barrier to the delight of the throng of fans on the hillside.

On the other side of the field, staring back at Lisbon, was a row of players from Mattanawcook Academy. To a man, the Lynx players stood taller. Their shadows swallowed the Lisbon front line.

“It was hotter than a cannon and Mattanawcook was huge,” Lisbon assistant coach Randy Ridley said. “They were clearly bigger and stronger than we were. We went down to the field in full black uniforms — and kicked the snot out of them. We dominated that game so much.”

Mynahan’s legend grew that day.

Each fall, it seems, his legend has grown. Teams predicted to finish 0-8 wound up 4-4. Some picked to be 4-4 ran the table. Three of his teams — so far — have won state championships.

Saturday, win or lose, Mynahan will close the back cover on the final chapter of his enormous Lisbon legacy and walk off the field as a head coach for the final time.


“It’s something I’ll miss dearly,” Mynahan said, his voice bearing that familiar late-season crackle. “It’s probably time, anyhow, and I’ve kind of known that right along.”

Hard work

Dick Mynahan’s roots are in Lewiston, where he played several sports, including football.

“Playing football at Lewiston, playing sports at Lewiston, I learned the value of working hard,” Mynahan said. “I grew up in the lower part of Lewiston, a lot of us guys, we got our enjoyment out of sports and worked hard to play them.”

Mynahan learned and watched under another coach known for his hard work, longtime Lisbon mentor Joe Woodhead.

When he became a coach, Mynahan transferred his tenacity in the trenches to his players, and set a similar example for his assistants on the sidelines.


“The first thing was, I always realized I wasn’t the smartest coach around,” Mynahan said. “I had to work hard. Since I’ve started coaching, that’s what I’ve done. And I’ve always had assistant coaches willing to work hard with me. Every day is a practice where we expect to give everything we have, and we expect it from our kids. I’ve been pretty fortunate to have people working with me who are willing to do that.”

Ridley graduated in 1987, the spring before Mynahan took over as head coach. He started working as an assistant coach for Mynahan in 1999, and has been there every year but one since.

He knew which buttons to push with players and coaches, Ridley said, and how to motivate them with a kick in the butt, or pat on the back.

“He knew what to say and how to say it,” Ridley said. “He knew how to push my buttons as a player, and as a coach, to get me to try to basically prove him wrong.”

While the players worked hard on the field, the coaches worked hard away from it, Mynahan included.

“Everything was planned to the minute,” Oak Hill coach and former Lisbon player and assistant Stacen Doucette said. “In our (coach’s) meetings, we’d put everything down on paper, and if it wasn’t put down on paper by the end of Sunday, we didn’t improvise when we got to practice. Everything was well thought out.”


Doucette has always considered Mynahan his mentor. After graduating from Lisbon in 1992, Doucette went to work under Mynahan’s tutelage, first as the middle school coach in 1993, and then as an assistant with the varsity team in 1994, where he remained until becoming Oak Hill’s head coach in 2012.

“You look at Stacen at Oak Hill, look what he’s done for his program, they’ve succeeded because of his hard work, and basically, it’s hard work,” Mynahan said. “You have to work hard and you have to stay at it.”

The players, Mynahan said, didn’t always immediately take to his philosophy. But when they did, they won.

“We’re not a typical team, we don’t watch film on Mondays,” Mynahan said. “We come out, we run and we run and we run. The kids know it, maybe don’t like it, but they keep showing up. Our motto is, if we beat a team, or if they beat us, we want to have worked harder than they did. We carry that right through the week. They’re willing to work hard. It’s not always the best team (that will win), it’s the team that’s willing to work the hardest.”

“Kids are successful in different ways, and he always found that way,” Doucette added. “He was second to none in terms of motivation.

“He had a way of making an average player feel like an all-star, and an all-star feel like a player of the year, and a non-average player feel like they made a difference.”


Forging a legacy

In 2015, Mynahan joined an exclusive Maine club. Alongside John Wolfgram, Mike Siviski and Jim Aylward, Mynahan joined the 200-win club.

After the game, Mynahan said, “It means you’ve been around a long time — probably too long, you know?”

Perhaps foreshadowing this season’s announcement, but more likely exuding his ever-present humility, Mynahan deflected comparisons to the state’s top coaches. In fact, Mynahan said Wednesday he doesn’t even consider himself the best coach in his own family.

“My brother, John, coached at Lisbon for a number of years, too,” Mynahan said. “He coached the younger kids. But of the Mynahans, I think he was the best coach. He critiqued me all the time. I was never flashy enough for him. His first play every game, he tried to score a touchdown. He was a good coach.”

Earlier this season, another brother, Tim, joined him on the sideline during a against against Medomak Valley.


“He keeps me straight, he tells me what I do right, he tells me what I do wrong,” Mynahan said after that game. “He tells me he doesn’t want to get involved, but he always kind of has a sneaky way of letting me know when I should be doing something different. He’s a good guy to have on my side.”

Tim was also a coach at Lisbon under Woodhead.

And many of Mynahan’s assistants have been familiar to the Lisbon faithful, as well. It is part of his philosophy.

“Whenever I’ve had the opportunity to help decide who would coach, it was always a Lisbon athlete first,” Mynahan said. “I’ve had quite a few over the years who have been willing to coach with me. They buy into what we do. They’re all hard workers — they were all hard workers as players at Lisbon, as well. I don’t have to explain to them what I want.”

Ridley, his brother, Chris, and Chris Kates, three of the team’s current assistants, all played under Mynahan. Ridley also coaches Lisbon’s baseball team, which has had its share of success over the years.

“He wants the best out of everybody, including his coaches, and he has never been shy of letting me know I have to be at the top of my game as a coach,” Ridley said.


Doucette, meanwhile, watched and learned for nearly two decades. And until this past season, he leveraged what he’d learned into eight consecutive wins over his old coach.

This year, Mynahan’s team returned the favor — twice.

But both coaches never lost sight of what mattered most.

“He had a vision of football shaping outstanding young men and citizens, and he’s never changed that vision,” Doucette said.

After one season-ending loss as a player, Doucette remembered Mynahan gathered the team for a postgame huddle. The coach asked everyone not on team — friends, family and reporters — to give him a moment alone with the team.

“He asked everyone to stay away so he could talk to the team alone,” Doucette said. “He did a really good job of making a kid feel special. In that moment, as tough as it was, he made every kid feel special, because what he had to say was for no one else’s ears.”


One last shot

Looking back on that September day in 2006 against Mattanawcook, the one thing Ridley remembered most was, ironically, dead silence. Players panted from the heat, some hooted and hollered briefly, but as they settled in to hear Mynahan speak, they instead heard sweat drop from their teammates faces to the parched earth below.

“After the game, we all circled up on the field like we always do, and it was literally the first and only time I saw coach speechless,” Ridley said. “He was so proud, so happy, you could see it in his eyes. But it was the only time I have seen coach at a loss for words.”

As his final game approaches, Mynahan isn’t so much lost for words as he is pensive, reflective, and thankful.

“I have so many kids that stand out, kids I see Saturday afternoons,” Mynahan said. “Kids that I coached in the late 80s that I play golf with now, kids with kids that have been baptized, kids I’ve been to weddings for. There have been so many over the years who have been special. I see them often, I saw some just last week after the (Class D South regional final). I’m a pretty lucky guy to have so many guys I can look back on and realize how fortunate I am.”

While many coaches will use family as a crutch to leave a bad coaching situation, Mynahan won’t. His desire to spend more time with those around him is genuine.


“I guess the ‘clicking’ came from my wife,” Mynahan said with a wry laugh. “There have been a lot of fall seasons that we’ve missed doing other things. And I have grandchildren now who are getting older. I know you’ve heard that right along. But I have a granddaughter down in Massachusetts who’s playing for a state title this weekend and I can’t be there. I’d like to be able to see her when she’s a junior or senior. And I have other grandkids all around who are getting involved in sports. It’s pretty selfish on my part to keep doing what I love, but taking away from my family side, and it’s time to look that way.”

But that’s next week, and next year.

This week, and on Saturday, it’s all about football, and helping his players win one final game — what would be Mynahan’s 210th career victory.

As usual, though, he offered proper perspective.

“I’d like to win Saturday, but win, lose or draw, I’m really happy with this year’s team,” Mynahan said. “As far as we’ve gone, the way we’ve played, to be going into this game is an honor. When you walk onto Fitzpatrick Stadium, it puts a lump in your throat. Of course I’d like to win it for the kids that we have, but we know also that one team wins, and one team loses, and we do talk about sportsmanship.

“We’ll see what happens on Saturday.”

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